I think the change sneaked up on me a bit, the same way a Saint Bernard puppy puts on five pounds every time you take your eyes off it. Think about how much the local beer scene has changed over just the last two years in Dallas. The amount of growth is shocking, especially when you consider that not so long ago, there wasn't a single Dallas brewery to speak of.
Michael Peticolas led the charge, opening his namesake brewery in the Design District after wrestling with the city for months over the necessary permits. He then went on to brew award-winning beer that conquered taps at bars all over town.
Deep Ellum, Lakewood, Community and Four Corners followed, and if you're willing to reach outside the loop, Revolver and Firewheel, too (Rahr and Sons, in Fort Worth, has been around for nearly a decade, too early to consider part of this recent movement.)
To me, though, it's not the number of breweries that's impressive; it's what they're accomplishing together. And it has nothing to do with awards or gold medals.
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B.P. (Before Peticolas), drinking a local beer, for the most part, meant drinking something brewed in Fort Worth or Austin. The number of bars that participated heavily in these "local" beers was relatively small, consisting mostly of specialty bars that focused heavily on beer. Now the exact opposite is true. It's now harder to find a bar in town that doesn't keep at least one keg home team on tap, and many have several more.
About two weeks ago I was at Alligator Café in Deep Ellum, and while sitting at the bar I noticed a Four Corners Brew on tap. Considering their wine list matches up with the bottom shelf at your favorite grocery store, I think that's worth mentioning. And last week I stopped in at Grub Burger Bar and was seduced by Peticolas' Velvet Hammer, which is interesting because it shows restaurants are hitting the ground running with local beer from the start.
Earlier this month, Bonchon, a national (and interesting) chain restaurant based in New York, announced an initial beer list that included a Community IPA, two beers from Peticolas and two more from Revolver. The news wasn't exceptional because of how drastically our local beer scene has changed.
The shift in how Dallasites get drunk is significant, and it's one that should be celebrated. This city -- that's you, dear reader -- has done an outstanding job supporting local beer.